Meet 1811 is a blog series where we interview our members. Today, we meet Megan Waldron, whose dynamic and vibrant characters might be the sole reason we all kept showing up to our writers’ circle. Megan shares about her writing process and the origin of Seren & Dominick, two of our favourites (you can meet them in our forthcoming anthology).
Describe “romance” in one word.
One word, seriously? I’m a writer, a storyteller. Boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, partner, intimacy, commitment, the list goes on and on. I guess love, but there’s a million variations of love, parent-child, stepparent and child, adoptive, not to mention vice versa. A parent to child love is different from child to parent’s love, sibling which is different depending on brother or sister, older or younger. Romance is just a minuscule part of love.
Tell me about the first story you remember writing.
The first story I remember writing is a bloody awful short story that eventually transmogrified into Seren & Dominick’s story, only their names were Julia and Jared, they were divorced and had a small son, Andrew. Somehow that transfigured into Seren and Dominick, and it quickly became clear that that original short story was not how their story would be ending. My only regret is perhaps that their son in the original has been erased from existence and it’s unlikely I’ll be writing him into Seren and Dominick’s story.
What is your favourite romance story?
Here’s the thing. When I hear romance story, I think a book, film etc. where the primary plot is the romance. I love the relationship between Hiccup and Astrid, or Betty and Jughead, but their romance isn’t the major plot. That’s not to say that it isn’t a romance story at all, but if we’re taking romance story to be a story where the primary storyline is the romance, I’d have to say The Search by Nora Roberts. I first read it as a teenager while on holiday in Maine and wanted badly to steal it from my aunt. Instead I settled for reading it over and over again, often borrowing it for the year and begrudgingly returning it to Maine the following summer. Eventually, after many long years, I found and bought my own copy, and was sorely tempted to switch it out for the copy in Maine. The characters are all grounded, and interesting, even the minor ones, and their dynamics with one another are refreshing and unique to each individual. The romance is combined with dog search and rescue, a serial killer mystery and a beautiful scenery.
How does a story begin?
Characters. I can stay with a story so long as the characters are still believable, interesting, grounded, flawed, thrown through a whirlpool of angst as often happens. Even if the plot is dragging, and I’m frustrated with the direction the plot is taking, so long as I am able to still love the characters I can keep going. Sometimes with the right characters, I can still find a kernel of magic in the storyline. It might be something the writers/producers/directors etc. never see or never acknowledge but can still pull me along. A story is nothing without the right characters to live it.
Does being part of a writing collective affect the way you approach writing?
Not so much how I approach writing, but it’s made me less hard on myself. I’m more confident in my abilities as a writer, and it’s nice to come to a place where other people love my characters and their story as much as I do. I’ve been bringing Seren and Dominick to our circle for two or three years and their story still isn’t finished?
What’s your method for overcoming the challenges of being a writer, like writer’s block or imposter syndrome?
Oh boy, that’s something I struggle with constantly. Sometimes it’s quite literally taking a break. Often going for a walk or something will clear the jumble in my head and give me some clarity. Often, I find myself jumping around a lot. I’m a lot more likely to get stuck or blocked if I’m working chronologically with my story. I write what needs to be written in the moment, even if I’m at the very beginning and the scene doesn’t show up ‘till near the end. And sometimes I’ll still play pretend like when I was a kid. I’ll take an outing, do some sort of activity and pretend I’m my characters. Mostly, though, I do my best to turn my brain off, a kind of obliviate in a way and just write. Just write and not think about the words at all.
How do you balance writing with the rest of your life (working, being a student)?
Not very effectively I have to admit. I’m no longer a student but trying to find time to write is hard. Sometimes I’ll whiz through two thousand words in a little over an hour, and other times I’ll barely get out one hundred. Occasionally I’ll cram in ten minutes here, twenty minutes on a bus, but motion sickness limits that window. If I can, I’ll go to writing groups. I find I’m a lot more productive if I’m surrounded by other writers all doing the same thing.
In your opinion, what fictional couple should be together but isn’t?
Tricky, tricky, tricky. I always wanted to see Dawson and Joey back together until the very end when they weren’t. Right now, I’m a little obsessed with Oliver and Laurel from Arrow, even though I’ve only seen bits and pieces of their relationship and haven’t watched the series through entire, I still love them. Regarding books, maybe Artemis Fowl and Holly Short – I love their dynamic but would also love to see them go that step further.
How do you fit writing into your life right now?
Very very ineffectively, in snippets here and there.
Tell me about a piece of writing you’re currently working on.
Mostly I’m trying to finish Seren and Dominick. I’m almost there, just gotta get over some last-minute hurdles. I’m excited, so so excited but I’m going to miss writing them.
Are you a wine person or a cheese person?